The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander is finally coming to a theater near you. Disney recently announced that they’ve purchased the movie rights and we can’t wait to see their adaptation of this high fantasy series.
The series consists of five books: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. They chronicle the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his battles against the neighboring kingdom of Annuvin. Accompanying him on his journey from zero to hero is Eilonwy, a sassy princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the bard; Gurgi, a chimera; and Doli, a dwarf and one of the Fair Folk.
The story and its characters have been beloved by children and young adult readers alike since their first publication in 1964. For those of you who haven’t heard of the land of Prydain or its heroes, here’s why you should pick up a copy of the books and look forward to the big screen adaptation.
These days, most book-to-movie adaptations draw their ideas from romance or dystopian novels. It’s refreshing to see Hollywood explore other avenues, like a book series deeply rooted in Welsh mythology. Ever heard of King Arthur and his round table? His legend has inspired countless movies: Quest for Camelot, Excalibur, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, etc. Alexander has used King Arthur and other Welsh heroes to create one of the most memorable quests in literature. I mean…at one point the main protagonist settles a many year dispute over a cow! Can you blame us for being excited to travel to yet another world where witches and wizards, Fair Folk, and Kings are the norm?
A Strong Female Character
Female leading ladies have become the standard in Hollywood and we’re glad that that trend doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon. Princess Eilonwy has the potential to be the next Katniss because, despite having a royal title, she is by no means a damsel-in-distress. She is often described as outspoken, having “skinned knees, torn robe, and unshod feet,” and was one to offer unsolicited advice in the form of a simile. My personal favorite being:”It’s silly to worry because you can’t do something you simply can’t do. That’s worse than trying to make yourself taller by standing on your head.” Alexander could’ve just made her into your everyday love interest, but he invested so much time into this character that she got her own book, Castle of Llyr, in the Prydain series. We’re excited to see which young Hollywood starlet will be playing this character as she’ll be an inspiration for girls everywhere pretty soon.
An Unlikely Hero
The concept of the chosen one has been a popular cliche throughout books, movies, and television. Luke Skywalker, Neo, Frodo…you get the idea. They’ve all come from meager beginnings and risen to greatness by facing and defeating the ultimate evil; Taran is no exception. He is first introduced to us as an Assistant Pig-Keeper, but throughout the series he evolves into a warrior and finally High King of Prydain. His journey is especially interesting because in order to succeed in his quests, he must always “let something go.” Sometimes that means losing something or someone precious to him, like Eilonwy. In a world of superheroes and mutants, it’ll be nice to see a character on screen with humbler roots.
That Disney Magic
This isn’t the first film adaptation of Alexander’s books that Disney has done. Remember The Black Cauldron? Based on the first two books of the series, it was an animated feature film released in 1985, just before the Disney Renaissance. While it didn’t garner rave reviews, it has since developed a cult following. Disney has a successful track record of bringing popular books to life in magical, creative ways on screen — The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book to name just a few. We expect The Chronicles of Prydain will follow suit, captivating current and new fans alike.